First, The Free RPG Blog is rad. Just had to get that off my mind.
Now: GameStorm! The best thing about Portland’s largest game convention is that it’s smaller than anything in Seattle. This makes all the industry heavyweights who live in Seattle feel all relaxed when they come here. I’d tell you everything I gleaned in conversation as a result, but that’d end the relaxation pretty quickly.
Andrew and Kristin Looney of Looney Labs were guests of the con and waaaay overshared on their plans for the rest of the year – they told their secret Christmas gift, for crying out loud! But one thing I doubt they will mind me telling you about is Are You The Traitor?, a card game which, as you might guess from the title, plays in the are-you-a-werewolf? gamespace. It’s similar to Covert Action in some ways, but I found it easier to grasp – basically it’s a Werewolf/Mafia-ish experience for fewer players in less time. They’ll have it out for Origins, and even the haters are going to have to admit that it is freaking gorgeous.
Bucephalus Games was showing a whole lot of stuff coming out soon. I liked the look of Bill of Rights by Mike Selinker along with Teeuwynn Woodruff of D&D fame, and a Mr. Dan Tibbles. It’s kind of like Nomic Lite, but lots of games are like Nomic Lite… but Bill of Rights is more so. Also showing, not from Bucephalus but perhaps in a similar vein to Bill of Rights, was T.P.O.C. (The Politics Of Cannibals) by Stractical Concepts (not kidding about that name). Didn’t get a chance to play it, but any political game where you can throw swing voters into a cauldron of stew has something going for it.
I saw a game called Space Alert getting a good measure of play; apparently it’s from the designer of Galaxy Trucker and is along the same lines – build a spaceship, hope it doesn’t get torn to hell by stuff – but it’s co-op, way crazier, and timed by means of an included audio CD. It doesn’t have a US publication date yet.
On the RPG front, new releases were largely of the ashcan-and-leaflet variety. Be on the lookout for Advanced Sea Dracula Second Edition, though. And should you find yourself in one of those normal-people bookstores, check the humor section for Michael Fiegel’s Ninja Burger Employee Handbook, which he was showing alongside HELLAS but which doesn’t have hobby-channel distribution.
Lastly: Mutant Chronicles movie trailer. Certainly looks… like a movie.